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The Student News Site of Buffalo High School

Bison Beat Online

The Student News Site of Buffalo High School

Bison Beat Online

Up for debate

Debaters hit finals at state Congress competition
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menefee
Debaters Nicollette Arabie, Kaylen Sanchez and Alyncia Jackson competed at state in Congress earlier this month.

Earlier this month, three debate students, seniors Alyncia Jackson and Nicollette Arabie and sophomore Kaylen Sanchez, competed in UIL State Congress in Austin. The team is moving on to National Speech and Debate Association (NSDA) competition now, their next competition being here on February 15 for national qualifiers. 

 Both Sanchez and Arabie advanced to finals, with Arabie continuing a four-year streak of making it through to the final round. She placed fourth. 

 “We’re all so proud of Nicollette,” Jackson said. “She represents our school well.” 

Sophomore Kaylen Sanchez competes in the Texas Capitol during state Congress finals.

Arabie placed third last year, breaking a new record for the highest place in state Congress competitors from Buffalo. 

 “I don’t think I did as well this year as I did last year in finals,” Arabie said. “But as a whole four-year growth, it’s phenomenally better.” 

 Arabie is continuing what she calls a tradition of getting fourth place senior year. Buffalo alumni Colby Menefee and Omar Almeida both placed the same at state in their senior years. Coach Melonie Menefee said she’s pleased either way. 

 “Making it to state in the first place is a pretty big deal,” she said. “That’s the top 60 debaters in the state. And then to make finals – that’s the top 18. Anything past that is icing on the cake.” 

 This was Jackson’s first year going to State Congress. She said it was a good opportunity for her as a senior. 

 “I lowkey had an attitude the whole time,” she said. “But it was fun. Honestly, people weren’t as good as I thought they’d be.” 

 Jackson has been doing debate since her sophomore year, though she mostly focuses on Lincoln-Douglas debate. 

 “Alyncia’s definitely improved since even regionals,” Arabie said. “At state, she was able to give refutation in her speeches instead of just reading.” 

 State Congress marked the end of UIL Congress until next year, although NSDA Congress and plenty of other opportunities are still ahead this spring. For the seniors, though, it was one more “last.” 

Debaters Nicollette Arabie and Kaylen Sanchez go over their debate prep during a recess at the Texas Capitol.

 “I was really excited to medal,” Arabie said. “But after we had left, it was kind of sad to know that I was not gonna go back there to compete ever again.” 

 After Jackson and Arabie graduate, Sanchez will take the reins over speech and debate leadership.

 “I’m excited for Kaylen to take over after Alyncia and I leave,” Arabie said. “I think she’ll improve a lot as a debater.” 

 NSDA Congress national qualifiers will see six members of the debate team competing: Arabie, Jackson and Sanchez along with freshman Genevieve Arabie, junior Tristan Cole and senior Mason Ayles. In addition, they and six other members of the speech team will compete in a variety of events. Their goal is to make it to the national competition in Des Moines, Iowa this summer. 

 “I’d say I’m ready for it,” Arabie said. “I haven’t done much prep for it yet, but I think I’m ready.” 

 There will be about 150 students at the meet, which will be hosted in Buffalo in mid-February. It’s a high-pressure situation, but the students are busy getting ready. 

 “It just feels like another tournament sometimes, and I think that’s a good way to go into it,” Arabie said. “It’s good not to put so much pressure on it.” 

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About the Contributor
Ryan Brown, Editorial Team
I’m Ryan Brown. I’m a senior and have been in journalism for three years. Within journalism, I am a writer and editor of articles, I direct for broadcast, I run the journalism TikTok, I write for and am a co-anchor of the Bison Insider podcast, and I help with the yearbook. I also do UIL events (current events, social studies, film, and journalism) and theatre. In my spare time, I write and hang out with my friends. I am planning to major in journalism in college. I love music, especially rock and metal, and alternative fashion.